Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae,
Governor-General of New Zealand
On 25 April we pause to remember the men of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps—the ANZACs—who stepped into our history when they went ashore at Gallipoli in what was to be an ill-fated campaign in which over 2700 of our men died.
On the hills above what is now known as Anzac Cove, New Zealand and Australian men distinguished themselves as soldiers. They showed courage, comradeship and compassion. At times they fought like demons, at times they extended the hand of peace across to their Turkish foe that endures to this day. It has often been claimed that Gallipoli was where a sense of nationhood was born for Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
Over the years, Anzac Day has become a time to honour all of the men and women who have served our nations; and in doing so some have made the supreme sacrifice. It is a day for us to explore the notion of nationhood, a day to ask ourselves how we can live up to the hope our men had for our future as they struggled ashore at Anzac Cove and fought during the eight months of the campaign. It is a day to ask how, in a very different world, we can continue to reflect the values of camaraderie, courage and compassion the ANZAC soldiers upheld against great odds.
New Zealanders have laid wreaths on this day for the principles they hold most dear, such as democracy, human dignity and peace. Attendance at Anzac Day services is on the rise as new generations of New Zealanders explore what this day means for them.
Anzac Day is also a time to think of our brothers and sisters across the Tasman. A unique friendship was born and cemented at Gallipoli that is a special part of the identity of both nations.
Like family, we are there for each other in times of war and during peace, in times of comfort and times of challenge. No measure can be placed on what Australia’s practical and moral support meant to us with the Pike River Mine tragedy and the devastating Christchurch earthquakes. And New Zealand was proud to go to Australia’s aid against the ravages of the Victorian bush fires, the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi.
The Gallipoli campaign gave us a confidence in ourselves, and in each other. The bravery, commitment and sacrifice of our servicemen and women continues to be an inspiration to us as we face the challenges of today.